Saint-Pierre Castle (Italy)
Aosta Valley See list of castles in Italia
The Castle of Saint-Pierre, located in Tache, 8 km from Aosta, is one of the oldest in the region and stands on a rocky promontory overlooking the homonymous village.
Built around 1000 and already mentioned in a document of 1191, the castle owes its name to its first owners the De Sancto Petro and has undergone various transformations with addition of bodies, parallel to the succession of the different seigniories that occupied it, ( the Quarti, the Savoia, the Challant), until the seventeenth century when it became the property of Pierre-Léonard Roncas who transformed it into a sumptuous residence.
In 1873 the baron Emanuele Bollati took over and brought the last restorations entrusting them to the architect Camillo Boggio, who gave the castle its today's fairytale appearance by adding four circular decorative turrets to the corners of the central Mastio with a square plan. The towers are connected by a walkway supported by a series of small arches and the south side of the castle has a small courtyard surrounded by crenellated walls.
The Castle is now owned by the Municipality of Saint-Pierre and since 1985 it houses the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences.
The Museum is divided into 9 rooms that illustrate the natural environment of Valle d'Aosta in its many aspects.
The first room, formerly the Castle's stable, houses the ticket office and is dedicated to mineralogy and geology. The others are dedicated to the climatic and glaciological aspects of the Valle d'Aosta, to the flora and fauna of the region with some stuffed specimens of bear, wild cat, wolf and bearded vulture and an osteolysical collection of the Gran Paradiso National Park (chamois, ibexes) .
The so-called "Throne Room" with a large stone fireplace surmounted by the Saint-Pierre coat-of-arms and period furniture is also worth mentioning.
The Castle of Saint-Pierre has been the subject of an important redevelopment process since 2008 with the dual objective of enhancing the architectural heritage and renovating the museum exhibition. The new museum will be based on interactivity, experience and technology, to enhance the collections and tell different audiences about the natural history of the Valle d'Aosta, its biological and environmental wealth.